Remote Workers May 5, 2020

Thoughts on why we are building a walkie-talkie for remote teams

Junu @junetic

While working remotely the last 5 years out of Seoul, I missed the highly collaborative and fun teamwork that I experienced at design firms. None of the video or text tools provided an easy way to spontaneously connect and collaborate—so we decided to build one (www.presence.so).

Here are some of our POV's on how we aim to enable better remote teamwork:

  1. Enable seamless asynchronous and synchronous communication.

100% asynchronous remote teamwork is possible but unsustainable. Even Basecamp who are remote work 'experts' say they spend 30% on synchronous communication (which is a lot considering what they preach)

  1. Allow for spontaneous conversations that build team rapport and make remote work more fun and less lonely.

Slack can work for spontaneous chats, but things can get lost very quickly in group channels and from the lack of nuance with text. Video call links can work, but scheduling one or getting people together is a big time drain.

  1. Provide clear controls and defaults for privacy and focus.

For privacy, we think voice is much better by default than video. To help with focus, we have a giant 'mute' button as well as smart ways to automatically set when you are busy (ie working on a specific app, google calendar integration..etc).

There's probably more to uncover and refine, but these are some of our starting points for how we think we can dramatically improve remote teamwork.

Would love to hear your thoughts as fellow remote workers on IH :)

  1. 2

    I like the idea, it sounds better compared to having a call open all day! I can definitely see this succeed. But how would this compare to discord?

    1. 1

      Thanks! There are a couple of things that we offer better than discord:

      -1:1 push to talk voice and transcribed voice messaging—without needing to ask to join a voice channel
      -Higher quality screen sharing with shared cursors
      -Business app integrations - google calendar, Slack..etc
      -More professional, non-gaming brand/positioning

      Lots more to figure out and validate :)

      1. 1

        Why so complex? Why not a simple desktop app that has a shortcut/push to talk? You pitch a walkie talkie but list a full business sweet. I would just start out simple! It's a really good idea

        1. 1

          You raise a great point regarding simplicity. Push to talk with shortcuts, voice messaging and group voice channels are at the core of what we’re working on.

          That might even seem like a lot but we hope it feels like a v simple walkie talkie desktop app when you use it.

          Regarding additional features like screen-sharing, as users start using the product frequently, certain features have been needed. Like zoom has text chat as its really needed while you’re on a vid call but you wouldn’t say it’s a text chat app

          1. 1

            This is hard to say, how many people use the chat? I never use it when in a call and my team doesn't we chat in slack. Personally I would hate another chat app because we already have too much.

            We try to keep everything at one platform, so mail => gmail, chat => slack etc.

            1. 1

              Thanks for sharing these points. Yea always-on voice is our focus so we will do our best to make things simple!

Recommended Posts